Like many, many areas up and down the UK the local high street has suffered over recent years. Larger retail parks open up close to road networks with plenty of free car parking and inflict a blow to local high streets who inevitably struggle.
But you can fight back. Recent research suggests that local residents would choose to shop local if the high street was once again brimming with business and accessible parking.
So, rather than going to seek help from your local council you may want to take matters into your own hands and come together as a business community – a great way to have your say in numbers.
Here with some ideas to help you get started in making your high street a better place to visit.
1. Talk to your fellow business owners.
By communicating with all shop owners on your high street you can all start the ideas flowing. Don’t be put off talking to any of the larger names too, Cost Coffee and Boots for example actively encourage dialogue with such town associations.
2. Organise a diary of events that will see something all year around.
By organising events such as a market or craft fayre, Christmas, Easter and one off bespoke celebrations you can maximise a diary with the next event being planned in on an annual basis. Food festivals, music events, children’s party days and so on. Come up with a list of ideas, agree on a schedule and put an action plan committee together. Remember keep the committee as informal as possible so not to go overboard – these things can get out of hand quickly and the last thing you want is to have fellow business owners falling out.
3. Set up a trader’s association.
Maybe think about a trader’s association. These are beneficial as they allow businesses to formalise ventures and partnerships with a view to talking to community and local councils or arranging finance.
4. Create a community website or Facebook page for a wider ideas pot.
These are a great way to embrace everyone’s ideas and are a great melting pot of creativity. The high street website is also a great window for all to find out relevant information on upcoming events and news. Push the website through social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram being a couple of good ones. Periscope is another fantastic platform to broadcast live. This is especially good for when you are promoting a business – a great example would be a pub with a live music event perhaps?
5. Market research.
Observe the current condition of the high street. How many shops are empty? Is there a litter problem or any anti social behaviour evidence? Can this be cleaned up? Maybe put a group together to actively tackle the problem, seek help from voluntary groups or schools to help. You’d be very surprised who would come forward.
You can find more information at The Great British High Street